Scripture is Holy Spirit inspired. Therefore it teaches us not only about God’s plan for man, but also how brilliant He is. Let us look at God’s desire to be among His people:
The pattern of God being among His people begins in Genesis 2, ‘Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day….’ 1
# The Fall
- When Adam and Eve were driven away from God’s presence, He still desired to be among His people.
- Note the word ‘His.’ God is well aware that there are people who don’t want to be in His presence, but want to go their own way. He will never force Himself on an unbeliever, because He respects every one’s free will. So the thread of God’s presence with His people, through the Bible, applies only to those who make a covenant with Him.
# The Tabernacle
- When the Israelites, His people, were freed from slavery under the Egyptians, God said to Moses, ‘…have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them….’ 2 It was basically a tent, called the tabernacle, the ‘tent of meeting.’ 3
- Later during times of apostasy the tabernacle was destroyed. David brought the ark that survived to Jerusalem. 4
# The Temple
- Solomon’s Temple. David wanted to build a ‘house’ for God. His son Solomon built it, and God was again in the midst of His people, in the capitol city, Jerusalem, ‘When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it.’ 5 Because of the people’s idolatry, God left the temple. 6 Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
- Herod’s Temple. However, after the exile, the second temple was built. Later Herod extensively improved it, so it was called Herod’s temple. God’s promise was, ‘The glory of this house will be greater than the glory of the former house….’ 7 This was the temple that Jesus frequented. Herod’s temple was destroyed in 70 AD because of unbelief in Jesus and to point to God’s New Covenant.
# The Holy Spirit
- Still God wanted to be among His people. With the New Covenant, God’s plan became individual. When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit. As God’s representative the Holy Spirit would live inside believers.
- This time, no external factor can destroy God’s desire to be among His people. The promise is that the Holy Spirit will be with us eternally, ‘The Spirit and the Bride….’ 8
# The new Eden / new heaven and earth
Finally, God Himself will descend from heaven to be eternally among His people, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God.'” 9
Glory to God for His persistence to establish His Family by His grace. His people will enjoy His presence eternally. Atheists can relax! They will not be subjected to the ‘injustice’ of God’s presence for all eternity. God respects people’s free will.
- Genesis 3:8
- Exodus 25:8
- Exodus 33:7-9
- 2 Samuel 6
- 2 Chronicles 7:1-2
- Ezekiel 10
- Haggai 2:9
- Revelation 22:17
- Revelation 21:3